Endocrine System Is a group of specialized organs and body tissues that produce, store, and secrete chemical substances known as hormones. As the body's chemical messengers, hormones transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another. Because of the hormones they produce, endocrine organs have a great deal of influence over the body. Among their many jobs are regulating the body's growth and development, controlling the function of various tissues, supporting pregnancy and other reproductive functions, and regulating metabolism.
Endocrine organs are sometimes called ductless glands because they have no ducts connecting them to specific body parts. The hormones they secrete are released directly into the
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In addition, some nonendocrine organs are known to actively secrete hormones. These include the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, thymus, skin, and placenta. Almost all body cells can either produce or convert hormones, and some secrete hormones. For example, glucagon, a hormone that raises glucose levels in the blood when the body needs extra energy, is made in the pancreas but also in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. However, it is the endocrine glands that are specialized for hormone production. They efficiently manufacture chemically complex hormones from simple chemical substancesfor example, amino acids and carbohydratesand they regulate their secretion more efficiently than any other tissues.
The hypothalamus found deep within the brain, directly controls the pituitary gland. It is sometimes described as the coordinator of the endocrine system. When information reaching the brain indicates that changes are needed somewhere in the body, nerve cells in the hypothalamus secrete body chemicals that either stimulate or suppress hormone secretions from the pituitary gland. Acting as liaison between the brain and the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus is the primary link between the endocrine and nervous systems.
Located in a bony cavity just below the base of the brain is one of the endocrine system's most important members: the pituitary gland. Often described as the body's master gland, the pituitary secretes several hormones